BRAILLEMON: Pokémon port accessible for the blind and visually impaired
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July 10th, 2013 (9:13 PM).
One who can't think of a title
Join Date: Feb 2011
Location: Route 113 [Hoenn]
Oh, whoops, that was in the error message, so I probably should've read it... Well in any case I managed to get it working. I found it really difficult to navigate around the map (perhaps because I'm not used to it?). I was really confused by the "tall grass" sound, because it sounded like someone was sawing something or something that I was supposed to go find, but I couldn't locate it from listening with my headphones.
I played this game called The Great White Peep where the main character was blind and so you had to navigate areas by listening to sound... there were a lot of ambient noises like fire crackling, brook noises, and all of the people were singing or chopping wood or something so that you could find them fairly easily. The only issue is that it wasn't friendly to blind people because the menus where you did actions were still visual, and the only way you knew you were close enough to talk to someone was when the menu option popped up. So perhaps you could have people on the map hum to themselves or something, and when you get near a person on the map, they say, "Hmm?", and stop humming (or whatever their other noise is) until you either talk to them or go away, to signify that you're in range?
The footstep sound was still pretty loud, and at first I thought it meant I was bumping into a wall. A bug(?) I found was that you still encounter wild pokemon even if you are bumping into a wall. I don't think that happens in the games.
For navigation help, I think it would be helpful to be able to tell what's in front of you by hitting enter (whether it's a cliff, a building, a fence, water, etc). Just something simple like, "you feel the water lapping against your toes" would suffice. It would also be really cool if you could have the pokemon in the front of the party be somewhat like your guide... so if you talk to someone and find out that Lavender Town is the next town you need to get to (for example), you could tell your pokemon that you want to go to Lavender Town or the nearest Pokemon center or whatever, and if you press a certain button (perhaps the "interact with front pokemon" button) it could say, "Bulbasaur is tugging you northwards" or whatever general direction you need to go from where you are. That way the game still requires some navigation, but if players get lost they have a way to get back on track.
Another thing I noticed is that without the GUI, it's a lot harder to gage the general state of the pokemon battle. Perhaps change how much health the enemy loses from an attack to a % of the full value (since players are "not supposed" to know how much health an enemy pokemon has), and add in a "status" button or menu option that just tells you what fraction of your pokemon's health is left, and what % of the enemy's health is left (and mentions any status effects the pokemon have). The traditional "low health beeping" noises would help here too, but basically I had no idea how low my bulbasaur was on health until it had already fainted. Knowing that one side or the other took 3 damage doesn't mean anything if I don't know the total health...
I also noticed that when I selected info about one of my pokemon, there was kinda a big long infodump. People going to this page are likely to be looking for one or two pieces of information, so it might be better to have another menu saying, "What would you like to know about your pokemon?" with options for nature, health, EXP, stats, etc. That way if they miss the info the first time, they don't have to listen to a long list of information to try to pick out what they're looking for again. I think it might also be useful to have a "repeat" button, in case someone misses what was just said, since text-to-speech can be kinda wonky sometimes (I almost missed Oak asking for his grandson's name, and probably would've been annoyed if I missed it and then was left sitting there wondering what to do next... but your target audience may be better at listening than me).
The project is still young and I realize it would take a lot of time to add some of these features, but I think you're making great progress so far~
EDIT: Oh, also, please please implement the Physical/Special split from 4th gen. It's a pretty important change in the mechanics.
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